Scientists Will Move an Asteroid off Course as Part of a Test



/ 3 years ago

It’s happened before and it will definitely happen again sometime in the planet’s future. I’m talking about an asteroid impact, of course, the like of which could obliterate the majority of life on earth, including humans. The good news is that scientists are actively working on ways to prevent such a catastrophic impact, and come 2020, they’ll actually try to nudge an asteroid off its path as part of a testing session. The experiment was dubbed Aida, Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment, and it will focus on an egg-shaped asteroid named Didymoon, which measures 160 metres in width and currently orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos.

The scientists will launch two spacecraft, one of which will hit the asteroid directly while the other will monitor the impact’s effect. The lead investigator for the European Space Agency, Dr, Patrick Michel, has stated the following:

“To protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts, we need to understand asteroids much better – what they are made of, their structure, origins and how they respond to collisions. Aida will be the first mission to study an asteroid binary system, as well as the first to test whether we can deflect an asteroid through an impact with a spacecraft. The European part of the mission[…] will study the structure of Didymoon and the orbit and rotation of the binary system, providing clues to its origin and evolution.”

Back in 2003, Didymos passed by our planet at a distance of 7.18 million kilometres. Let’s just hope that we’ll be ready to act when the time comes.

Thank you Irishmirror for providing us with this information.

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